Sweeping the Shelves #3

Welcome to the third installment of Sweeping The Shelves; the weekly blog post where I try to convince myself to donate some of my ENORMOUS to-be-read collection.

Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before (Tony Horwitz)

bluelatitudesDescription from Goodreads: Two centuries after James Cook’s epic voyages of discovery, Tony Horwitz takes readers on a wild ride across hemispheres and centuries to recapture the Captain’s adventures and explore his embattled legacy in today’s Pacific. Horwitz, a Pulitzer Prize-winner and author of Confederates in the Attic, works as a sailor aboard a replica of Cook’s ship, meets island kings and beauty queens, and carouses the South Seas with a hilarious and disgraceful travel companion, an Aussie named Roger. He also creates a brilliant portrait of Cook: an impoverished farmboy who became the greatest navigator in British history and forever changed the lands he touched. Poignant, probing, antic, and exhilarating, Blue Latitudes brings to life a man who helped create the global village we inhabit today.

Final Verdict: I dunno. This seems like it would be a fun one for when I’m on a non-fiction kick. I think I’ll keep it. — KEEP

The Ear, The Eye, And the Arm (Nancy Farmer)

theeartheeyeandthearmDescription from Goodreads: General Matsika’s children steal out of the house on a forbidden adventure–and disappear. In Zimbabwe, in the year 2194, the children’s parents call in Africa’s most unusual detectives–the Ear, the Eye and the Arm–who have powers far beyond those of other human beings. The children must avoid the evils of the past, the technology of the future, and a motley assortment of criminals in order to return home safely. 

Final Verdict: Oh, but this one sounds fun and has some pretty good reviews. And it’s a kid’s novel, so it wouldn’t take long to read it. I think I’ll go ahead and keep it for now and then donate it after I’ve read it. — KEEP (FOR NOW)

The Extinction Gambit – The Extraordinaires #1 (Michael Pryor)

theextraordinairesDescription from GoodreadsAll Kingsley wants is to begin his career as an escapologist and conjurer . . . but it seems that it’s not only his fiendishly difficult-to-control wolfishness that could put a spanner in the works. 

There’s also the Immortals, a triumvirate of thousand-year-old magicians who want to rule the world through mind control – and destroying Kingsley is integral to their plans. And if they don’t kill him, then there are the last surviving Neanderthals, who want to exterminate all homo sapiens. 

Luckily Kingsley can enlist the help of Evadne, a beautiful albino heroine with an agenda of her own, and the famous author Rudyard Kipling – who is both fascinated and terrified that Kingsley could be the real life inspiration for the wolf child Mowgli, the hero of The Jungle Book. 

Surviving to tell this tale will require braving the challenges of the Demimonde – the dangerous and exhilarating underground world of magic, conspiracies and the most outlandish of those on the fringes of our society.

Final Verdict: I’m actually like halfway through this one. It IS interesting, I just was having trouble keeping myself involved in it and then I did a Library Haul, so I kind of forgot about it. I guess I’ll try to finish it off this year and then decide. — KEEP

Napoleon’s Pyramids – Ethan Gage #1 (William Dietrich)

napoleonspyramidsDescription from GoodreadsThe first book in Dietrich’s fabulously fun New York Times bestselling series, Napoleon’s Pyramids follows the irrepressible Gage—a brother in spirit to George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman—as he travels with Napoleon’s expedition across the burning Egyptian desert in an attempt to solve a 6,000 year old riddle with the help of a mysterious medallion. 

Final Verdict: Wow, that’s a really bad description. From the reviews, this one sound like a good, old fashioned adventure book. I’m torn; I’d like to read it, but I KNOW I won’t get to it any time soon. Let’s just check….Yes! My library has it! In the bin it goes. — DONATE

The School for Good and Evil – The School for Good and Evil #1 (Soman Chainani)

theschoolforgoodandevilDescription from Goodreads: The first kidnappings happened two hundred years before. Some years it was two boys taken, some years two girls, sometimes one of each. But if at first the choices seemed random, soon the pattern became clear. One was always beautiful and good, the child every parent wanted as their own. The other was homely and odd, an outcast from birth. An opposing pair, plucked from youth and spirited away.

This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains. As the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, Sophie has dreamed of being kidnapped into an enchanted world her whole life. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, she knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil.

But when the two girls are swept into the Endless Woods, they find their fortunes reversed—Sophie’s dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School For Good, thrust amongst handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are…?

Final Verdict: I actually just bought this one in December because I was sick of waiting for the person (who’d had it out for MONTHS) to return it to the library. So I’m keeping it until I read it. 😉 — KEEP


Today’s Count: Keep = 4, Donate = 1  (I didn’t do very well this time, did I?)

Overall Count: Keep = 11, Donate = 4

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T5W – In A Land Far, Far Away

Today’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is: Books NOT Set/Inspired By The Western World!

Wow, this one was actually WAY harder than I thought it would be. Getting into the Pop Sugar reading challenges and a few groups on Goodreads has really broadened my book horizons, but I still apparently haven’t read very many books that aren’t based on the Western World. :/ I had to break into my TBR pile to make up the difference!

The Night Parade (Kathryn Tanquary) — Japan

thenightparadeThe last thing Saki Yamamoto wants to do for her summer vacation is trade in exciting Tokyo for the antiquated rituals and bad cell reception of her grandmother’s village. Preparing for the Obon ceremony is boring. Then the local kids take an interest in Saki and she sees an opportunity for some fun, even if it means disrespecting her family’s ancestral shrine on a malicious dare. But as Saki rings the sacred bell, the darkness shifts. A death curse has been invoked… and Saki has three nights to undo it. With the help of three spirit guides and some unexpected friends, Saki must prove her worth – or say good-bye to the world of the living forever. If you like Hayao Miyazaki films, you will love this book!

Wildwood Dancing (Juliet Marillier) — Transylvania

wildwooddancingHigh in the Transylvanian woods, at the castle Piscul Draculi, live five daughters and their doting father. It’s an idyllic life for Jena, the second eldest, who spends her time exploring the mysterious forest with her constant companion, a most unusual frog. But best by far is the castle’s hidden portal, known only to the sisters. Every Full Moon, they alone can pass through it into the enchanted world of the Other Kingdom. There they dance through the night with the fey creatures of this magical realm. But their peace is shattered when Father falls ill and must go to the southern parts to recover, for that is when cousin Cezar arrives. Though he’s there to help the girls survive the brutal winter, Jena suspects he has darker motives in store. Meanwhile, Jena’s sister has fallen in love with a dangerous creature of the Other Kingdom–an impossible union it’s up to Jena to stop. When Cezar’s grip of power begins to tighten, at stake is everything Jena loves: her home, her family, and the Other Kingdom she has come to cherish. To save her world, Jena will be tested in ways she can’t imagine–tests of trust, strength, and true love. This one was really good. I love reading about mystical creatures and faerie tales from other countries and this book managed to incorporate quite a few of them! 🙂

The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (Alexander McCall Smith) — Botswana

theno1ladiesdetectiveagencyThe No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series tells the story of the delightfully cunning and enormously engaging Precious Ramotswe, who is drawn to her profession to “help people with problems in their lives.” Immediately upon setting up shop in a small storefront in Gaborone, she is hired to track down a missing husband, uncover a con man, and follow a wayward daughter. But the case that tugs at her heart, and lands her in danger, is a missing eleven-year-old boy, who may have been snatched by witchdoctors. This one is from my TBR pile. It looks pretty good, so fingers crossed!

The Girl From The Well (Rin Chupeco) — Japan

thegirlfromthewellA dead girl walks the streets. She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago. And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan. Because the boy has a terrifying secret – one that would just kill to get out. This one is cheating a bit, since it DOES start out in the US. But the premise of the book is Eastern and all the characters end up in Japan, so I’m counting it.

The Ear, The Eye, and The Arm (Nancy Farmer) — Zimbabwe

theeartheeyeGeneral Matsika’s children steal out of the house on a forbidden adventure–and disappear. In Zimbabwe, in the year 2194, the children’s parents call in Africa’s most unusual detectives–the Ear, the Eye and the Arm–who have powers far beyond those of other human beings. The children must avoid the evils of the past, the technology of the future, and a motley assortment of criminals in order to return home safely. Also from my TBR pile, I picked this book up at a used book sale last year and it looks really fun!


Anyone have some recommendations for great novels that aren’t set in the Western world? I’d love to broaden my book horizons even more! 🙂